ITV Aintree and Sandown Preview

13:30 Aintree - The Randox Health Becher Handicap Steeple Chase (Grade 3)

One of the big races of the day at Aintree over the Grand National fences sees the Grade Three Becher Handicap Chase over a staying distance.

With such a big field going to post we have two selections in the race and the first is the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Ballyoptic.

This gelding failed in his hat-trick bid in the Grade One Betfair Chase after winning in a Class 2 Handicap Chase on his seasonal debut and then landing the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase next time out.

This looks more realistic and has proven staying ability.

Our second selection at a bigger price is Mysteree for trainer Michael Scudamore who has been lightly raced over the last 10 months only racing twice which could play to his strengths with freshness a huge thing in these type of races.

He finished a narrow second on his final start of last season at Newcastle in the four mile Eider Handicap Chase and was then put away for the season.

He made his return at Kelso in October over 3 miles 2 furlongs and landed a nice Class 2 event which looks a perfect prep run for this event.

13:50 Sandown - The Randoxheath.Com Henry VIII Novices' Steeple Chase (Grade 1)

One of the feature races on the Sandown card on Saturday is the Henry VIII Novices Chase and we have sided with the Paul Nicholls trained Grand Sancy.

The five year old gelding is making his chase debut in this Grade One contest which is a bold move from the trainer but from the way he has ran over hurdles if converting that to these obstacles he could be a smart chaser.

Last time out he finished second at Wincanton behind Grade One winner Fussil Raffles which is decent form but now back at Sandown where he has a decent record he should go well.


14:05 Aintree - The Download The App At Virgin Bet Fillies' Juvenile Hurdle Race (Listed Race)

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14:25 Sandown - The Jumeirah Hotels And Resorts December Handicap Hurdle Race (Listed Race)

The Listed December Handicap over two miles sees a strong field of runners go to post and we like the look of Protektorat for trainer Dan Skelton.

The four year old gelding was disappointing last season with the trainer saying that they couldn't control him and therefore get the best out of him.

On his first start this season he finished a decent second over course and distance being beat by a decent Nicky Henderson horse and that run should see him go better here today off a nice mark.

14:40 Aintree - The Best Odds Guaranteed At Virgin Bet Many Clouds Steeple Chase (Grade 2)

The feature race on the Aintree card is the Grade Two Many Clouds Chase over 3 miles 1 furlong and the superstar Native River makes his seasonal return.

Colin Tizzard's superstar although not winning on his three outings last season still ran to a credible standard placing in two of his three events.

He started his season off in the Betfair Chase finishing second to Bristol De Mai with a good first run of the season, he then headed to the king George where he stayed on from way off the pace to grab third with another solid run.

He headed the the Cheltenham festival for his final run of the season in his Gold Cup title defence and in a overly competitive renewal he finished a solid fourth.

Although now nine years of age he still holds plenty of ability and should outstay many of the field he is against having beat them in past seasons.

15:00 Sandown - The Betfair Tingle Creek Steeple Chase (Grade 1)

The feature race of the day in Britain is the Grade One Tingle Creek and Defi Du Seuil for trainer Philip Hobbs will be very tough to beat.

Defi Du Seuil is back seeking another Grade One victory to add to his illustrious career and he has a huge chance in what will be one of the toughest races of his season.

The Tingle Creek on Saturday currently still holds eight runners for a fantastic Grade One contest and over this sharp 1 mile 7 1/2 furlong contest it is all about speed.

The Philip Hobbs trained runner will be renewing his rivalry with Politologue, who he beat last time out at Cheltenham on their seasonal debuts and that looks the best form on offer.

He is a multiple Grade One winner that will handle the conditions and has shown previously that he also handles the shorter trip but will have to better than his seasonal debut.

15:15 Aintree - The Virgin Bet Grand Sefton Handicap Steeple Chase

The final selection from Aintree is the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase over 2 miles 5 furlongs and the Henry Oliver trained Killaro Boy takes the eye at a big price.

This season he has been a model of consistency with a win on his seasonal debut at Warwick in the summer and then finishing second on his last two runs.

His latest run came at Aintree after a short break and he should be much fitter for that experience and is one to watch.

15:35 Sandown - The Betfair London National Handicap Steeple Chase

The final runner of the afternoon from Sandown is the Stuart Edmunds trained Classic Ben in the staying Class 2 Handicap Chase over 3 miles 4 1/2 furlongs.

The six year old gelding was smart towards the back end of last season in similar staying events and was modest on his seasonal debut when fourth of eight at Bangor.

He will massively come on for that run and now only two pounds higher for his win at this track three starts ago also makes him very appealing.

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